The Blight, © Neil Girling, 1998-2019

Archive for the 'A Message From Our Sponsors' Category

Death Guild Thunderdome Fundraiser

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Here are the photo booth photos —
Death Guild Thunderdome Fundraiser 2013

New: Blight Store

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

whiskey is my spirit animal
whiskey is my spirit animal
Due to overwhelming demand for, these stickers are now available here. Get one.

Update: flasks are available.

Out of the frying pan

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Midway through the third week now and stronger than ever, Occupy Wall Street is beginning to finally get noticed by the mainstream media. The coverage, largely nonexistent at first, is picking up steam; Slate, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, and even the President  has something to say about the protests.

I feel they’re missing something.

In the coverage I’ve seen, there has been little to no honest coverage of who these protestors are; there have been a few passing mentions of “anarchists,” and the usual dismissive “smelly hippies” and “kids,” but I don’t believe that’s accurate or intellectually honest. I want to show that this protest contains many employed and employable folk like you and me. The blog We are the 99 Percent has done an excellent job putting a very human face to the movement (and disenfranchised) itself, but they’re not photographs of the protestors themselves, on the streets of New York. I want to change that.

So, thanks to a very generous sponsor, I’m going to New York. He’s set up a page so that others might go, too: go donate here.

Contact me with inquires here.

Upcoming: Edwardian Ball

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Edwardian Ball poster

I will once again be your photographer for the Edwardian Ball! Get your tickets before they sell out.

The Blight at the company picnic

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Burning Man Camp Map 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, preparations for our yearly company picnic are well underway. We have reason to believe that the above map most accurately reflects precisely where your intrepid narrator will be located on the playa this year (the X, if you will).

So, one way or another, we should be right on 3:30 between the Esplanade and Athens. Look for a row of black and white flags, and if I get my affects in order, a sign that says THE BLIGHT. See you in the dust.

PS: If you have any ideas for a photoshoot, right now would be a great time to contact me.

The Wedding, Fireworks and Tornadoes

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Simon and Julia exchange rings at their wedding in Venice. See the teaser gallery here.

Saturday morning I rose from the couch: wedding preparations were soon to descend upon the living room. It’s a hilarious contrast between men’s and women’s styles of getting ready: The women are a flurry of chaos, with mirrors, exploded makeup boxes, a surgeon’s array of tiny brushes and tweezers, all the while cooing over each other and hming and hawing and cooing and fussing. The men, on the other hand, are boring. Walking into Simon’s room, the lights are dim, one man taps quietly at a laptop, and Simon’s just trying on his coat. And that’s it.

I depart with Julia, resplendent in her cream and gold dress and brilliant one-of-a-kind custom brass laser-cut Venetian half-mask (on a short handle) and other members of the wedding party via water taxi directly to Torcello (much faster and more private than taking the Vaporetto, the public water bus). The bride’s attendents (and your intrepid narrator) ensconce themselves in a wing of the Locanda Cipriani (hangout of Hemingway) while the rest of the party arrives. Random Italians periodically pop by to take pictures of Julia: we’ve caused something of a stir. Finally, it’s time for the ceremony — game on for me.

The crowd is assembled underneath large umbrellas (so crushing the heat of the sun) on the lawn in a beautiful garden; Julia walks, alone, down the verdant green covered walkway with stately grace. Simon’s grin splits his face. The ceremony is brief, personal and sweet; Julia and Simon have asked the guests to, on their own, come up with and provide vows for them to swear to each other. As this draws to a close, Julia’s sister, Diana, is to present the rings… and they’re missing. Her husband, Todd, runs off to find them, only to return moments later empty-handed. Diana hurredly whispers “We could make a ring…” but Todd runs off again and finds them, thus averting a crises. The crisis turned out to be more of a blessing, because people then felt compelled to fill the intervening space with something… and thus provided even more vows, promises, and pieces of advice; people that would not have done so if the ceremony had run its intended course.

Then it’s my turn to be in charge and — viola — group photo. Now, drinks and service. We eventually make our way over to the two large party boats we have reserved — carrying about thirty people each (so the entirety of the wedding party and guests and a few random Italians) and we slowly make our way to the harbor in front of the St. Marcus Square, near the Salut and the Church Redentore while storm clouds move in, finally obscuring the malevolent sun. From one boat’s rooftop to another we have the bouquet toss, and the water fills more and more with a tremendously large flotilla of revelers on all matters of craft: From massive three-story yachts (one was named “Quantum of Solace.” There were *three* of these damned boats!) to a pirate ship, and even single-person inner tubes (with an outboard motor). The party continues into dusk, and the clouds have moved on letting the last rays of sunset strike us before dipping behind the churches. As a prelude to our fine firework show, lightning flickers continually and ominously in the distance (but without rain or thunder).

The fireworks display is one of the best I’ve seen, with both technical and aesthetic artistry. It also helped that we were atop the roofs of boats and could actually *see* the mortars firing and the fireworks launching into the sky. It was an unforgettable moment, and all the while an Italian bluegrass band from Trieste played on saxophone, violin, trumpet and the like, singing songs in accented English and Italian (Bella Ciao!).

After they wrapped up, one boat — the varsity partiers, mind you — went to the island of Lido, the long and straight seawall running north and south at the mouth of the harbor. At the souther end we disembarked and hauled our gear out onto the beach where a long row of bonfires were lit, revelers all about. Lightning continued to puncuate the darkness, as the half moon had set after dark but long before midnight. The air is great, and the water perfect. Twiddling one’s fingers in the sea was met with green flickers and flashes of the phosphorescent plankton. Kicking one’s foot lit the water from below with a flash; walking forward in waist deep water, you send a gentle circular ripple atop the inky-black glassily-smooth warm Venetian water, a ripple glowing green at its crest. My mind is still blown: Words cannot possibly do this wonder justice. Flashes of lightning still lit the silhouettes of the partiers from behind.

A few hours later, the wind abruptly changed: this was a sign of worse times to come. Soon the first rain drops fell, and the wind picked up and battered us with fine scouring sand. I hunkered down and kept my eyes shut (so bad was the blowing sand) until we decided to quit this place. Cut to a textbook-wrong exodus, and you have us arriving at the door to our flat the same minute as Simon and Julia–who left the beach over an hour later than us. Oh well. If that’s our only complaint from the Big Day, I’ll keep my mouth shut. (Long story short: we departed, got caught by the beginnings of thunderstorm downpour (wearing only light summer clothes, took a bus, waited forever at a packed Vaparetto station with drunk revelers (and the rain), couldn’t get on the first boat because there were so many people, ended up being on the wrong line and having to transfer, and finally walking the distance back to the flat, schlepping gear all the while).

Congratulations to Simon and Julia on their fairytale wedding: it was quite the splendid gala, one I’m sure will be spoken of for quite some time yet.

See the teaser gallery here and the rest of my Europe travels in this collection.

International Man of Mystery

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I depart for Europe in 17 hours! I’ve been hired to shoot a wedding in Venice, and am doing a quick stop in Prague first (to see the Sedlec Ossuary at Kutná Hora)

Where else should I go? I have a global Eurail pass and don’t return until the 21st of August (in time for Burning Man, naturally). Leave a suggestion.


Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

It’s my birthday this weekend! I thought I’d share my planned itinerary of shenanigans, were you so inclined to join me.

Friday night: Hubba Hubba Revue at the Uptown in Oakland! I work two jobs that day, and intend to unwind with the Bay Area’s finest burlesque show at one of my favorite Oakland bars. It’s right next to BART, for you west-bay car-less folk.

Then, Saturday 8pm until late, my friends down the road at the Vulcan are throwing a May Day celebration and fundraiser for their theater! See a venue most unique at one of the Bay Area’s finest underground locales, with acts including the Vau de Vire Society, Totter Tod, Gooferman, and the Hobo Gobbelins.

Come by my place starting at 5pm for pre-show cocktails. (Contact me directly for details).

Finally, on Sunday, we will drag our hungover selves to Antiques by the Bay at Alameda’s Naval Base, to sift through old relics looking for gems (like the Settee of Contention). It is our noble intention to arrive before noon, mimosas in hand.

Feel free to email, call or text at any point to find out what’s going on. I hope to see you at one of these!

Lightning in a Bottle does not respect artists

Friday, March 5th, 2010

As the Do Lab’s Lightning in a Bottle enters full promotional swing, I’ve received something of a rude shock: friend and fellow picture-taker (and digital rights advocate) Robert Kaye sends me a note. “Did they ask you permission to use your photos?” It turns out that the announcement the Do Lab made regarding tickets being on sale included a montage of photos, in which more than half a dozen of mine were featured, without permission and in violation of copyright law.

This is adding injury to insult to injury. Accompanying Vau de Vire Society in 2007, I shot the event itself and then, when contacted in March of 2008 (by Jenka Gurfinkel) I agreed to let them use my photographs (even providing high-resolution files) for promotional purposes, and asked for a comp ticket. I heard nothing. Two months pass and I  buy my own ticket and car pass (>$150). Then, the day before the event, I hear from Jenka: she asks if I’ve heard from the publicist, which I have not. I am offered the option to sell my own ticket–the day before I’m supposed to leave!–and take their comp, in exchange for shooting the event. Citing impossibility, I refuse.

Cut to November, and Jenka contacts me: “Once again, your images from LIB are dope,” and requests several high resolution files for her media kit. I explain to her that I’d be happy to provide them were they to reimburse me for my ticket purchase earlier that year (since, ultimately, there’s no difference were they to do so or have given me a comp in the first place).

Jenka refuses, and says, infuriatingly:

If the option of having your images available for publication is not something that is nterests [sic] to you, we will, of course, respect your wishes, and not use them. If you should change your mind, feel free to be in touch.

You know what? Fuck you.

You’re now using them in your email blast, and on your Facebook events page. This is insulting. Yes, you give credit in your email (sort of: you just link to my Flickr page) and there’s no credit at all (and my watermarks are half-cropped) on Facebook. But this isn’t about credit: You said you would not use them.

Edwardian Ball writeup at Coilhouse

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

I wrote a small piece on the Edwardian Ball for my friends over at Coilhouse.  Go take a look and stay a while; their blog is a collection of dark and lovely things.